They want the end of detached houses

Lucas Nunes
October 28, 2021
The government of Emmanuel Macron wants to put an end to the detached houses, according to Minister Delegate for Housing, Emmanuelle Wargon. France is not alone when it comes to those absurd ideas regarding housing and we should be concerned.

In Emanuelle Wargon’s closing speech on the event ‘Habiter la ville de demain’ (Living in the city of tomorrow), she said:

‘And ‘at the same time’, as President Macron would say, this model of the detached building with garden is ‘no longer sustainable’ and leads to ‘a dead end’. It is about ‘an urban functioning dependent more and more on the private car’, of ‘a model behind us’ and even of ‘an ecological, economic and social nonsense’.’

Under the excuse of ecology, our green Khmers are proposing that we abandon everything that makes our lives good. Our detached houses with plenty of space, including green areas, the countryside, meat, goods that come from long distances, tourism, personal vehicles etc. 

This new system the enlightened elites imagine for the commoners is nothing but socialism painted green. Little by little, every single aspect of our lives is being controlled by the politicians and the government bureaucrats. There is little we can do nowadays without the government’s interference and this is very concerning, because the essence of socialism is exactly the absolute control of every little aspect of the economy and of our lives by the state. The end of freedom and a new era of servitude, imagined by a few, lived by the majority.

Certainly, the political caste alongside their friends will continue to enjoy their big houses, tourism and everything else that they want to ban or to limit drastically for the rest of the population. History shows us that every time a socialist arrangement happened, it was about luxury for the few and misery for the rest.

But this idea of forcing the ‘commoners’ into miserable life conditions, in small, high-density housing is not original.

The Kommunalka

In Soviet Russia there were several models of housing very similar to the ones being imagined by the central planners of nowadays. The Kommunalka, the communal apartments were the first housing model implemented by the soviet government.

Just after the communist revolution in Russia, properties of the bourgeois that were brutally killed or enslaved were robbed by the Russian state. Most of these properties were then redistributed to the soviet citizens that survived the horrors of the revolution.

Several families shared the same homes, that had been built for single families previously. They shared bathrooms, toilets, kitchens, living rooms, and the outside areas with total strangers. Sometimes people had private bedrooms, but that was not always the case.

‘For thirty Rubles, he goes, ‘I can set you up in the bathroom’. Just one inconvenience—In the evening the communal tenants would come barging into the bathroom to wash up. Then the whole family had to move out into the hallway.’

Mikhail Zoschenko – The Crisis, 1925

There was almost no privacy and life conditions were awful. Violence was a very common outcome, as quarrels were the norm, due to the lack of privacy, personal space and the forced mingling of different people inside the same space.

In 1919, the Soviet People’s Commissariat of Health defined a norm of living space per person: 9.1 square metres per individual. But in the 1930s, this was revised and reduced to 5.5 square metres in Moscow, 3.5 square metres in Chelyabinsk and 3.4 square metres in Krasnoyarsk and 2.2 square metres in Donbass.

Sergei Garmash – Man and Cat. Song from the movie Stilyagi (2008), showing with good humour the daily life in a Kommunalka.

While this kind of first soviet housing may seem very extreme and unthinkable for the western standards, this is not the case for a German researcher of the European Environmental Bureau, Pia Mamut, who said, earlier this year:

‘How many square metres per person are needed? 14 square metres minimum to 20 square metres maximum for one single person and 40 square metres to 80 square metres for a household of 4 people.’

Pia Mamut

Individual homes in France, currently, have the average of 32.4 square metres and, at the end of 2013, the average surface area of a French house was 90.9 square metres and the occupants of a house, in France, on average, benefited from 112.3 square metres.

Technocrats like Pia Mamut are suggesting that the already small individual homes shall be halved, in countries like France, and that the bigger family houses, also need to be shrunk. Yes, the bureaucrats want individuals living in small pods, like rats in cages, but do not worry, it is for the ‘planet’, whatever they mean by that.

The idea of some sort of co-living as an ideal model of housing might be obscene for any person with common sense, but organisations like the infamous World Economic Forum, see it with good eyes.

‘In our city we don’t pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.

My biggest concern is all the people who do not live in our city. Those we lost on the way. Those who decided that it became too much, all this technology. Those who felt obsolete and useless when robots and AI took over big parts of our jobs. Those who got upset with the political system and turned against it. They live different kind of lives outside of the city. Some have formed little self-supplying communities. Others just stayed in the empty and abandoned houses in small 19th century villages.’

Ida Auken – Danish politician member of the Social Democrats party, former member of the Socialist People’s Party and Social Liberal Party (centre-left), former Minister for the Environment of Denmark and a Young Global Leader and Member of the Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization of the World Economic Forum

The Khrushchyovka

It is difficult to understand what the current ruling elites want for housing for the masses, because even among the central planners, there are dissonant voices, that want different things. But what seems to be a common agreement amongst our enlightened Green Khmers is that they want the housing smaller and they certainly want high-density housing as well. Do they all imagine co-living for the masses? Certainly not, some of them imagine something different for us all and something that is very similar to another model of Soviet Housing that is very characteristic of the Eastern Architecture, which is considered, by many, very aesthetically unpleasant.

After Stalin’s rule in Russia, Nikita Khrushchev became the leader of the USSR and with him, came a new model of housing for the people: The Khrushchyovka, which is something very similar to the HLMs (France’s Version of Council Estates) in France or the Council estates in Britain and Ireland. Poor quality, ugly buildings, often overpriced when compared to how much private companies or individuals would spend to actually build them and with very low maintenance, because, what is owned by everyone, is not owned by anyone.

The Khrushchyovkas were built as a temporary form of housing, something that the Soviet dictatorship had planned to last only 20 to 30 years, as most of the soviet people were living in Kommunalkas or barracks built during the World War 2. These architectonical shoeboxes were also not only particular of the USSR. They can be seen all around the Eastern Europe and the Socialist part of Central Europe.

It is no secret that in the name of the ‘environment’, many leaders currently on power, want to end with the suburbs, the detached houses, and want more urban areas. In the US, the government of Joe Biden wants to force suburban towns with single-family homes to build high-density housing.

The Romanian dictator, Ceausescu by the end of his dictatorship, in order to have more control over the population, tried to move the Hungarian minorities into urban areas by force, what ended up triggering the Romanian anti-communist revolution.

The Devil is in the detail

A huge part of the contemporary Marxists, especially those in politics, deny being Communists, but what you call yourself and what you really are, based on your actions and what you truly defend, are different things. Most of these plans to tackle the ‘manmade’ climate change are nothing but the old red agenda of the Marxists, despite the fact that they deny that. 

Reuters’ ministry of truth, recently stated that the Climate Change agenda is not a ploy for communism, as a ‘fact-checking’ of an internet meme using Greta’s image, but curiously, every little detail being advocated by those saying we have to tackle the hypothesis of manmade climate change, leads to policies that are exactly what the Communist doctrine preached.

Communism is the final state of the Marxist Socialism, that would be reached after the implementation of Socialism, when the state would cease to exist. The very definition of socialism is a centrally planned economy and a centrally planned society, by the people in control of the state.

Reuters’ ‘fact-checking’ does not explain why these actions being proposed by the environmentalists are not ‘communist’. Well, it is not like if they could, if they had tried. They would have to explain what the communist doctrine defended and they would have to make some sort of mental gymnastics to try to explain how the same policies and the same outcomes of practical communist socialism, would not be communist socialism.

The Libertarian perspective

Is libertarianism against co-living or ugly high-density cheap buildings? No. The libertarian approach when it comes to housing is that individuals shall decide what they want for housing, not politicians and technocrats and those decisions shall be made by the supply and the demand of whatever kind of housing people have in their minds.

If people are voluntarily building these high-density towers or co-livings and if they are buying or renting them, because they want, with their own money, in their own land, there is nothing wrong about that.

The cores of libertarianism are voluntarism and private property. But unfortunately, people are not voluntarily making these choices themselves, on the contrary, they are being imposed all of that, through regulations imposed by the state or through the housing that the state builds. Everything, being centrally planned by a minority and being lived by the majority of the population.

Are individuals truly willing to live in the pods imagined by the likes of Emmanuel Macron, Emmanuelle Wargon or Pia Mamut? Or do they prefer a detached house, with plenty of space and a garden? The answer to this question, can only be answered by the free-market, where individuals will freely allocate their resources to live in the kind of housing that they prefer.

Who is Emmanuelle Wargon or Emmanuel Macron to decide what makes ‘economic and social’ sense or not? The Subjective Theory of Value explains that value is something subjective, not objective, therefore Macron and Wargon are wrong. Detached houses do make sense—but for other individuals—, economically and socially. In fact, according to Emmanuelle Wargon herself, the ideal housing for 75% of the French people are still detached houses. That means that 75% of the French population see economic and social sense into that. 

Representative democracy is not democracy and it is also not representative. Our enlightened ‘leaders’ are not there to represent us, but to represent their own personal goals, through their big plans. Situations like this make it very clear to everyone that the political caste does not represent the will of the majority, nor the will of the each individual.

Only the individual himself can defend his own interests. It is time to decentralise the power and to take back the control over the course of our lives. 

These big government plans might be enforced for 10 or 20 years, until a new government goes into power and changes the plan, but the effects of these policies might last centuries. There are still people living in Communal Apartments in Russia and there are still many Khrushchyovkas, that had been built only to last 20 years, still being used today, all around Eastern Europe.

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Journalist, founder of Libertarian Europe and founder of Adverts Crypto.